Herbs, spices, minerals, and any number of fruits and vegetables are said to be possessed of certain medicinal or health-augmenting properties, with varying degrees of substantiation to their credit. And while claims regarding the given nutritional properties of most fruit/vegetable produce are generally taken at face value, the same is not necessarily true for more exotic (by Western standards) contenders in the lineup.
Spices such as turmeric and cinnamon, for example, have since centuries past been prescribed for maladies ranging from gout and indigestion to arthritis and erectile dysfunction. But these uses are subject to much scrutiny within the realm of traditional medicine, perhaps necessarily so, and routinely find their commonly understood properties qualified by disclaimers about their being unverified. Which brings us to the health benefits of kombucha tea, a cherished and highly regarded beverage whose evangelists tout as a cure all for a wide swath of health woes.
Tea, for its part, is generally accepted as a mildly medicinal beverage which, based on the varietal in question, can serve to alleviate stress (chamomile), energize a lethargic body (green tea), or ease troublesome digestion (chai). Why, then, and in what ways do the health benefits of kombucha tea differ from those of other tea forms? In a word, fermentation.
Indeed, kombucha tea’s primary differentiator is in its rather intensive and particular brewing method. Like chai, kombucha belongs to the black tea family; unlike chai, the black tea central to kombucha preparation is subject to a fermentation process stimulated by a yeast culture’s consumption of sugar that has been added to the black tea base. The resulting chemical reaction yields a beverage dense in probiotics and, based upon the length of the fermentation period, a modicum of alcohol. It was from the former of these yields, the probiotics, that the health benefits of kombucha tea are derived.
1. Cardiovascular Health—Kombucha tea does not necessarily benefit cardiac tissue in any direct sense, but its biochemical properties play a direct role in the body’s management of cholesterol. The balancing of good (HDL) cholesterol with bad (LDL) is an ongoing process within one’s arteries. Effectively, kombucha limits lipid absorption, thereby reducing LDL presence in the bloodstream.
2. Digestive Balance—Perhaps above all else, kombucha is recognized for its probiotic profile. Simply put, the fermented tea provides those stomachs it populates with a veritable bacterial bonanza, a factor which contributes to a healthy, digestion-aiding floral/faunal harmony throughout the intestinal tract. Every human organism is a garden of microorganisms which aid in a great many bodily functions. The stomach is a frontline arena for such functions, thus keeping it nourished with adequate probiotics may well contribute to broader wellbeing.
3. Mood Stabilizer—There is emerging research which suggests a strong, identifiable link between digestive balance and mental health. And though much of the evidence is anecdotal, there appears to be a broad consensus in support of kombucha as a mood-elevating elixir, one which can contribute to the quality of one’s rest, the peace of one’s mind, and an overarching sense of calm. Based on the breadth and consistency of such claims, the anecdotes appear to carry with them a degree of veracity. Consume your share of kombucha tea and cultivate your own inner harmony in so doing.
4. Immune System Strength—Immune system strength is supported in at least two ways via kombucha tea intake. First, a healthy stomach (to which the fermented tea directly contributes) is better equipped to absorb essential nutrition from the food one ingests. This is to say that nourishing vegetables, fruits, and the like are rendered more potent when moving through a microorganism-rich digestive environment.
A greater vitamin presence within the body will naturally reinforce one’s immune system, which in and of itself renders kombucha tea a worthy addition to any anti-illness measures. Second, kombucha tea is dense in antioxidants, allies in the ongoing struggle against ailments both mild (cold/fever) and severe (certain cancers). Between the two, a kombucha tea regimen is likely to reinforce the body’s defensive measures in a comprehensive manner.
5. Liver Maintenance—The term “detoxification” is commonly employed by nutritionists, dieticians, and others in the health/wellness space. And while the human body is very well equipped to manage detoxifying processes independently of aggressive dietary intervention, the human liver is nevertheless vulnerable to being overladen with toxicity, mostly brought on by poor dietary decisions and certain environmental exposures. Kombucha tea’s unique chemical properties have been demonstrated to reinforce liver cells, thereby allowing the organ to function optimally.
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